The man convicted of killing a Lawrence firefighter in 1986 was released from prison Monday after being granted parole, a parole board official said.
David Winebrenner, 44, pleaded no contest to first-degree murder for setting the July 17, 1986, fire that killed firefighter Mark Blair. Winebrenner served nearly 22 years in prison before his release.
Blair, a seven-year veteran of the local fire department and the first firefighter to die in the history of the department, was killed while battling a house fire at 3028 Rimrock Drive, near Holcom Park. A roof beam collapsed on him while he was searching for occupants.
Winebrenner, 21 at the time, set fire to his parents’ home while they were sleeping inside. His father said his son started the fire because he was angry about not being able to drive the family’s new truck.
Winebrenner received a life sentence for first-degree murder in October 1987, but the Kansas Parole Board granted him parole on May 21. He’ll be supervised by the Wichita parole office, said Marie McNeal, parole board administrator.
Winebrenner was denied parole in 2006, at a time when his parents supported their son’s release from prison.
During his imprisonment, he was held at various Kansas penitentiaries. Last August, he was transferred to the Wichita Work Release Center, a minimum-security prison in which inmates are required to maintain full-time employment in the community and are allowed to leave confinement to perform their jobs.